all the words of gods & men …the saddest are: “What
might have been.”
My cats & I wear out a couch about every
three months or so. That’s some serious couch-potato
credentials. We expect a lot out of our couches. I eat, sleep,
drink, write, nightmare, and fantasize. The cats do most of
that, plus they tear the hell out of them sharpening their
I don’t care. Tear away! I’m able to do
this because my cover identity is as a Tenderloin apartment
house janitor/manager & I get first choice of all the
furniture from folks who fly away to Japan or France or
Turkey. Life, as some hillbilly once said, “has been good to
I wish everyone’s needs were as simple.
The toughest time on the couch is during the end-of-year San
Francisco Board of Supervisors’ Finance Committee hearings
on the mayor’s budget. Geez, days sleeping in the same
clothes. But it’s a small price to pay for living out your
Conflicts of interest
Supervisor Matt Gonzalez took on Finance
Chair Mark Leno and Vice Chair Aaron Peskin head on this week.
It was tense. Leno and Peskin decided not to do any real work
on cutting the mayor’s budget. In other words, they decided
to stay with the traditional role of supervisors: blow a lot
of hot air, then sign on the dotted line for a tiny portion of
the loot. Each supe will be lucky to direct a million or so at
selected programs and needs. That’s less than 1/5000th
of the total. Willie directs the rest, and actually he drives
the supes’ choices too by cutting programs sure to bring
hundreds of protestors to lobby the supes at every public
The Gonzalligator wanted to storm the hill.
He suggested “unleashing the budget analyst” to suggest
some serious slashing. Maybe up to 2 percent to be
reallocated. Analyst Harvey Rose and his staff strained at
their tethers. Peskin was opposed but Leno seemed amenable
& it looked as though he and Gonzalez were going to carry
Peskin whined and cried and delayed. He was
tired. He was hungry. Couldn’t they delay this until the
They did. In the twelve-hour recess, they
turned Leno around. From the data the Budget Analyst’s
Office had ready, they must have been up the night. It was “put
me in, coach.” It was also useless.
Before data was even presented, Peskin &
Leno announced it was doomed. They’d vote against it. Leno
pontificated and quoted a rabbi in Hebrew. Peskin immediately
translated: “There is nothing new under the sun.”
Certainly, not if they have their way.
And on this one, they did. The conservative
majority now apparent in Finance voted to leave the mayor’s
treasure chest for Bechtel and PG&E. “Business as usual.”
Nevertheless, Gonzalez totally pissed off
Peskin & Leno, who began to toss platitudes like nails
from a fleeing getaway car. (Notice when Leno is really upset,
he looks like an ostrich? The neck lengthens, the hair
bristles, the eyes become saucers.)
“Just give me 40 acres & a mule”
Treasure Island is just over 500 acres of
land. The mayor’s boys in the John Stewart Company manage
776 units of property there ranging in rental value from
$1,200 to $1,500 (approx) for two-bedroom & up parcels,
which should raise … more than $10 million a year.
It ain’t happening. I don’t know why.
Maybe you can figure it out. The island claims a balanced
budget of 6 million or so but counts on half or more of that
to come from other city departments. “Something is happening
there & you don’t know what it is. … Do you, Mr.
As usual, it gets worse. Allow me some rope
to hang myself.
You sharper cowboys and cowgirls have
probably figured out by now that I trust Supervisor Aaron
Peskin as far as I can throw Treasure Island. As a drunken,
hippie, pothead conspiracy buff, I think he’s fronting
another double-cross on the charter amendment he’s offered
for the November ballot that calls for a vote of the citizens
to approve any fill in the bay that exceeds 100 ACRES!
That’s lots and lots of land. An expert
said in committee that less than 400 acres had been filled in
the last 20 years since sensible controls were enacted.
Follow this 100-or-less acres that needs no
agreement from the electorate. Who can approve individual
100-acre fills? Hmmmm … Anyone remember Barbara Kaufman?
Peskin worked closely with her to push through damaging
legislation (Chapter 31 of the Administrative Code) that she
and her staff had to leave hanging when they helo’d out of
City Hall. Turns out Barbara was just appointed head of one of
the numerous authorities that rule on what goes into and comes
out of San Francisco Bay. We all know she’d be a real
guardian of the environment.
Add 100 acres here and there and what you
got? Cape Canaveral eventually. Apply that to Treasure Island
on a fill or two or three and Lord knows what you got, cause I
sure don’t. Sun City, maybe. I wonder if Aaron’s in on the
“big” plans yet? I wonder if there are any? Who gets the
land under the old freeways and the bus yards? So much to
fathom and so little wine.
Always leave them laughing
In “setting an example,” the new board
members cut their own staff while increasing the mayor’s
plethora of minions. It got down to a matter of who had the
most computers hooked up when they took office. Apparently,
some had four and some had three.
Chair Leno was stunned! Sympathizing with
poor Jake McGoldrick’s lack of a fourth computer, he queried
the other committee members. Gonzalez allowed that he had one
more computer than McGoldrick. He noted, however, “I’m not
ignoring that Supervisor McGoldrick’s office has a sink and
mine does not!” (laughter around)
I know why a sink would come in handy. But
what the hell does McGoldrick need another computer for?
Maybe, an anchor for his bass boat?
My next column will be filed from St. Louis,
where I’m going to see my mamma. The mayor there (in my
hometown) had to be kept in a safe house a few years ago after
another high-ranked local official threatened him.
Live with it: firstname.lastname@example.org